'Heart-wrenching' family loss inspires Irish footballer to launch charity fundraiser
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'Heart-wrenching' family loss inspires Irish footballer to launch charity fundraiser

AN Irish family in Hertfordshire has organised a fundraising football match to raise money for a charity that supported them during a “heart-wrenching” time.

Footballer Kyle Connolly, who plays for Hemel Hempsted Town FC, has led the plans for a Charity Football Match and Family Fun Day, which is due to take place at Kings Langley FC in Hempstead Road from 12-6pm on July 29.

All funds raised on the day will be donated to the SANDS - Stillborn & Neonatal Death Charity.

Based in Hertfordshire, with parents from Mayo and Galway, Mr Connolly’s family came into contact with the charity this year, when his brother, fellow footballer Gary Connolly - who plays for Kings Langley FC, and sister-in-law lost their baby after reaching 39 weeks of pregnancy.

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Kings Langley FC footballer Gary Connolly (right) and his wife lost their baby at 39 weeks pregnant

“On April 21, my brother and sister-in-law found themselves in a situation like no other,” he explained.

“They had been expecting a baby and after 39 weeks had been told by the consultant that the baby’s heartbeat could not be found and she had passed away.

“For the parents, grandparents, auntie, uncles it is heart-wrenching, but the pain can be ongoing for life.

“The aftermath of coming to terms with the situation, being able to deal with everyday life and trying to move forward with a positive mind, can sometimes feel impossible.”

He added: “On average 15 stillborn/newborn babies die a day in the UK.

“You never see yourself or anyone close to you ever having to go through this so please speak up about your story and let’s do what we can to bring this number down.”

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Mr Connolly has also set up a JustGiving fundraising page which can be found here.

More than £8,000 has already been donated via the page.

For further information about the Charity Football Match and Family Fun Day, which will include special guests, an auction and a raffle, contact 07506681728.